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Thursday 20 September 2018

‘Like no time had passed’ for Abba when recording new music

Last week, Abba fans welcomed the announcement that the band have reformed and recorded new material.

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from Abba (Yui Mok/PA)
Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from Abba (Yui Mok/PA)

By Sian Harrison, Press Association

Abba songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus said the secret of their long partnership is still being excited by working together after more than 50 years.

The duo spoke after the press night of their hit musical Chess, which has returned to the West End 32 years after its stage debut.

The show, which the pair wrote with Tim Rice, stars Alexandra Burke and Michael Ball and tells the story of rival chess players competing for Russia and the USA during the Cold War.

Stars turned out in force for the show, with guests including actors Joe McFadden, Luke Evans, Mark Gatiss and Tom Conti, comedian Rory Bremner and singer Chesney Hawkes.

Elaine Paige, who was in the original West End cast, also attended on Tuesday.

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Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from Abba (Yui Mok/PA)

The revival received a standing ovation from the audience, as Benny, Bjorn and Tim Rice joined the cast at the curtain call.

Speaking after the performance Michael Ball described the show as a “spectacle” and said it has an “epic score”.

Last week, Abba fans welcomed the announcement that the band have reformed and recorded new material.

Benny and Bjorn said it was “wonderful” to be back in the studio with their former bandmates, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, adding it was like “no time has passed”.

“It took moments and then we were back.”

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ABBA new music

Asked about the secret of their success, Bjorn said: “We’re still curious, both of us. Trying new things is still exciting.”

Benny quipped: “Recording an Abba song is not really new but it felt good anyway.”

Chess first premiered in the West End in 1986 following its release as a concept album two years earlier.

Tim Howar, who plays American chess champion Freddie Trumper in the show, hit the headlines after he had to leave a preview performance last week during the interval after his wife went into labour.

Chess is running on at the London Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane.

Press Association

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